Diary Reviews

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, December 1966. Overall rating: 3 stars.

JACOB HAY “The Opposite Number.” The “inside” story of the spy business. (3)

AGATHA CHRISTIE “Hercule Poirot and the Sixth Chair.” Original title: “Yellow Iris.” Poirot stops a murder from occurring at a dinner party. (3)

WILLIAM BRITTAIN “The Boy Who Read Agatha Christie.” Schoolboy foils plan of college students. Enjoyable but trivial. (3)

ARTHUR PORGES “Private Beachhead.” Gimmick with radios too uncertain for story basis. (2)

YOUNGMAN CARTER “Seeds of Time.” SF story about visitor through time. Nothing unusual. (3)

CORNELL WOOLRICH “All It Takes Is Brains.” Novelette. Original title “Crime of St. Catherine Street.” Man on a bet enters Montreal with 75¢ and leaves with $1500, being wanted for murder in the meantime. Exciting in pulp style. (4)

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “The Problem Solver and the Defector.” Verner finds secret plans. (3)

GEORGE EMMETT “Pushkin Pays.” Attempt to dispose of body in ocean fails, thanks to appearance of Russian submarine. (1)

HELEN NIELSEN “The Chicken Feed Mine.” Three ex-servicemen kill a desert rat for his “savings.” (3)

JOHN T. SLADEK “Capital C on Planet Amp.” SF, but in far-out camp style. Garbage. (0)

L. E. BEHNEY “The Long Hot Day.” Tale from home. Husband kills stranger his wife falsely accuses. (3)

JOHN DICKSON CARR “To Wake the Dead.” Original title “Blind Man’s Hood.” An adequate locked room mystery, but supernatural tone of story is forced. (2)

RUFUS KING “Anatomy of a Crime.” hort novel. Stuff Drscoll solves a murder made to appear a textbook suicide. Actually an inverted detective story as the reader follows the battle of wits between murderer and investigator with fascination. (4)

– August 1967


RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

Part 3 can be found here.

LEWIS PADGETT “Time Locker.” Galloway/Gallagher #1. Novelette. This time Galloway (the prototype of Gallagher) invents a locker which leads into another space-time continuum and the usual type of plot-juggling. (4)

Update: First published in Astounding SF, January 1943. First reprinted in this anthology. Also reprinted in The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century, edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Harry Turtledove (Del Rey / Ballantine, trade paperback, 2005). First collected in Robots Have No Tails (Gnome Press, hardcover, 1952). Henry Kuttner’s wife C. L. Moore may have collaborated with him on this story. This is the second story by “Lewis Padgett” in this anthology. (Follow the link above.) I haven’t been reading as much SF lately as I should have, so I don’t know if anyone in the field today is writing anything as funny as a good deal of what Kuttner wrote back in the 1940s.

CLEVE CARTMILL “The Link.” Short story. The first step of man above the ape level on the evolutionary ladder may have happened this way, but it’s not likely. (1)

Update: First published in Astounding SF, August 1942. First reprinted in this anthology, then later in Political Science Fiction: An Introductory Reader, edited by Martin Harry Greenberg & Patricia S. Warrick (Prentice-Hall, trade paperback, 1974). From Wikipedia: “He [Cartmill] is best remembered for what is sometimes referred to as ‘the Cleve Cartmill affair,’ when his 1944 story ‘Deadline’ attracted the attention of the FBI by reason of its detailed description of a nuclear weapon similar to that being developed by the highly classified Manhattan Project.”

MAURICE A. HUGI “Mechanical Mice.” Short story.” A time machine leads to the construction of a world-destroyer. Too old. (0)

Update: First published in Astounding SF, January 1941. First reprinted in this anthology and (among others) Classic Science Fiction: The First Golden Age, edited Terry Carr (Harper & Row, hardcover, 1978) and The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 3, 1941, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg (DAW Books, paperback, 1980). Hugi perhaps comes closest to being a Little Known Writer as anyone in this anthology, with only a handful of stories to his credit. SF writer Eric Frank Russell is said to have worked extensively with Hugi on this story before it could be accepted for publication.

– July-August 1967



IMAGINATION. September 1954. Overall rating: One star.

GEOFF ST. REYNARD “Vengeance from the Past.” Short novel. Neanderthals try to take over space station. Nonsense. (0)

Update: Geoff St. Reynard was the pen name of Robert W. Krepps, about whom I know nothing. The story itself has never been collected or reprinted.

JEROME BIXBY “The Battle of the Bells.” In which an angel praises the rustic outhouse and the devil is flushed away. (1)

Update: Collected in Space by the Tale (Ballantine, paperback original, 1964) and in “One Way Street” and Other Stories (Armchair Fiction Masters of Science Fiction #2, trade paperback, 2011). I’ll let you comment on the basic concept of this one, if you’d care to.

DANIEL F. GALOUYE. “Immortality, Inc.” Novelette. Two immortals try to cheat a non-Stockholder of his life. (2)

Update: Never collected or reprinted. Galouye wrote perhaps a half dozen novels, but was better known for his short fiction. Of note, however, is his first novel, Dark Universe (1961), which was nominated for a Hugo.

ALLYN DONNELSON “Welcome to Paradise.” A repairmen exposes a secret military project by writing the President. (1)

Update: The author’s only published story.

RUSS WINTERBOTHAM “Three Spacemen Left to Die!” The last Earthmen sacrifice their lives to save another civilization. (3)

Update: Never collected or reprinted. Winterbotham’s writing career was broken in two parts. Part one between 1935 to 1943, then between 1952 and 1958, but even though I rated this story as the best of the issue, nothing he produced seems worthy of attention now.

– August 1967

Overall thoughts: A footnote to this page in my diary is telling: NO LONGER IN COLLECTION.

WORLDS OF TOMORROW. November 1966. Overall rating: 3 stars.

LIN CARTER “Crown of Stars.” Novelette. Tongue-in-cheek adventure with Hautley Quicksilver, Confidential agent, as he attempts to steal a jeweled crown. The over-eloquent descriptive style slows things down too much. (3)

Update: While the story doesn’t appear to have been either collected or reprinted, it’s fairly clear that it was the basis for Carter’s novel The Thief of Thoth (Belmont Double, paperback original, 1968). Here’s a synopsis of that book which I found online:

   “Hautley Quicksilver is a licensed thief and considered the best in the business.. A man posing as an archeologist, a planetary prince and an intelligence agent acting on orders from the Emperor’s cabinet approach Quicksilver separately. They all want him to steal the Crown Of Stars. It’s an artifact from the long gone Cavern Kings Of Toth. They were a lizard like race and the cave containing the Crown is guarded by a fanatical cult.”

   A followup novel in the same series, The Purloined Planet, was published the following year, also by Belmont. I used to like Carter’s novels, almost all of them pastiches of other author’s series, but that was when I was a whole lot younger. I’d like to give the expanded novel a try, though, whenever I find my copy.

C. C. MacAPP “Frost Planet.” Novelette. Murder and sabotage in an Earth enclave disrupts relations with the natives. The motives behind the plot are poorly defined, and the physical background has little bearing on the story. (2)

Update: The story has never been collected or reprinted. C. C. MacApp was a pen name of Carroll Mather Capps, and while he wrote seven novels between 1968 and 1972, I don’t recall reading any of them.

RICHARD C. MEREDITH “To the War Is Gone.” Novelette. Illustrating a poem of Thomas Moore, a minstrel goes to war and dies in the fight against slavery. His sole opponent in his final conflict is a beautiful girl, who holds his life in her hands, just as he is the only one who can save her. (5)

Update: This was Meredith’s second published story. I wish I’d said more about the time and place where it was set. It was never reprinted or collected. Meredith wrote seven novels between 1969 and 1979, including three in his “Timeliner” series. I remember enjoying them, but the details are long gone.

DANNIE PLACHTA “Until Armageddon.” A computer announces the beginning of the Hour of Judgment. (3)

Update: At only two pages in length, this was obviously only a filler for this issue. It is possible that I once met the author. One online source describes him as an active participant in the Detroit fandom in the 1960s, which I was tangentially involved with when I lived in Ann Arbor.

STEPHEN TALL “Seventy Light-Years from Sol.” Short novel. An exploration team discovers a new evolutionary system, consisting of cubes and millwheels on a planet covered with lettuce. [At 40 pages in length] about ten pages too long. (3)

Update: Collected in The Stardust Voyages (Berkley, paperback original, 1975) as “A Star Called Cyrene.” There was a followup novel in the same series, The Ramsgate Paradox (Berkley, paperback original, 1976). I own both books, but alas, I’ve managed to read neither one.

– August 1967

Overall thoughts: I rated this three stars out of five, which is a notch above average. That’s about right. Worlds of Tomorrow was my favorite science fiction magazine at the time, less literary than F&SF and more fun than the rather stodgy Analog SF, as it had increasingly become.

RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

   Part 2 can be found here.

ERIC FRANK RUSSELL “Symbiotica.” Novella. Jay Score #3. The title gives the clue to the relationship between the natives and the vegetation of a newly-discovered planet; the idiots sent on the expedition could never grasp anything so obvious. (0)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, October 1943. First reprinted in this anthology. First collected in Men, Martians and Machines (Berkley G-148, paperback, 1958). Also reprinted in The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 5, 1943, edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (Daw, paperback, 1981). This story seems has a greater reputation among others than my opinion of it. Russell himself was a very prolific SF writer. This early work doesn’t represent the bulk of his work.

RAYMOND Z. GALLUN “Seeds of the Dusk.” Novelette. When Earth Is Old series #1. Luckily, very little dialogue disturbs this story of Mars’ final conquest of Earth far in the future, letting the description of the plant’s growth from spore to world-wide domination comprise the major part of the story. (4)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1938. First reprinted in this anthology. Also reprinted in Tomorrow’s Worlds, edited by Robert Silverberg (Meredith Press, hardcover, 1969), among others. Collected in The Best of Raymond Z. Gallun (Del Rey, paperback, 1978). Gallun certainly qualifies as a “forgotten” writer today, perhaps because he wrote relatively few novels as opposed to several dozen novelettes and short stories.

LEE GREGOR “Heavy Planet.” An inhabitant of a planet with a gravity a hundred times greater than Earth’s discovers a disabled alien spaceship which will solve the problem of space travel. (3)

Update: Lee Gregor was a pen name of Milton A. Rothman. “Heavy Planet” was first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1939. First reprinted in this anthology. Also reprinted in The Expert Dreamers, edited by Frederik Pohl (Doubleday, hardcover, 1962). Collected in Heavy Planet and Other Science Fiction Stories (Wildside Press, softcover, 2004). For some reason I remember more of this story than some of the others in this anthology that I’ve reported on so far.

– July-August 1967



(1) MACK REYNOLDS – The Rival Rigelians. #3 in his “United Planets” series. Paperback original, 1967. A shorter novella version entitled “Adaptation” appeared in Analog SF, August 1960. Published separately by Wildside Press, trade paperback, July 2020.

   A political lecture in fictionalized form. A team of eighteen is sent to Rigel’s two planets having been given fifty years to bring the abandoned colonies here back to civilization and eventual union with the Galactic Commonwealth. They split into two forces to settle their argument over the optimal plan of action, capitalism or communism.

   This might be a valid premise for a story, except (page 25) Earth has had world government for some time, implying that some political wisdom must have been gained since the present time. The local leaders even realize this and unite to force their unwanted visitors to depart in favor of proper ambassadors.

   “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and Reynolds pulls every trick in the book to make this obvious. He needn’t have tried so hard. The faults of current political systems are obvious enough, without the lecture.

Rating: 2½ stars

Comment: From the online Science Fiction Encyclopedia: “The United Planets Organization [worked] in the cause of socioeconomic progress in the often-eccentric Ultima Thule colony worlds of a Galactic Empire.”


(2) A. BERTRAM CHANDLER – Nebula Alert. Empress Irene #3. Paperback original, 1967.

   Ex-empress Irene and the crew of her ship Wanderer enter the Alternate Universe of the Rim Confederacy after being pursued through the Horsehead Nebula. Their cargo consists of two dozen (somehow later twenty-six) Iralian embassy personnel. But the Iralians are capable of transmitting knowledge by heredity and hence are extremely desirable as slaves.

   Thus begins a tale of chase and fast action, but the plot becomes more and more tangled up in itself and fails to be resolved by an ending which comes from nowhere. Possibly OK if read as an adventure story only, but what a waste of undeveloped ideas!

Rating: 2 stars

Comment: Once Irene and her crew pass through the Horsehead Nebula they meet Chandler’s major series character, John Grimes. This is the last Irene story. It was preceded by Empress of Outer Space (1965) and Space Mercenaries (1965).

– August 1967

RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

   Part 1 can be found here.

P. SCHUYLER MILLER “The Sands of Time.” A pointless time-travel story, if that could be imagined, including a mysterious battle between unknown invaders of Earth sixty million years ago. (1)

Update: First published in Astounding Stories, April 1937. First reprinted in this anthology, then in Great Science Fiction Stories, edited Cordelia Titcomb Smith (Dell Laurel-Leaf Library, paperback, 1964) and Voyagers in Time, edited by Robert Silverberg (Meredith Press, hardcover, 1967), among others. After a moderately lengthy career writing science fiction, mostly between the 1930s and early 40s, Miller became the long-time reviewer of the field for Astounding/Analog SF from 1951 to 1975.

LEWIS PADGETT “The Proud Robot.” Novelette. Gallagher invents a robot while drunk, then forgets its purpose, but finally manages to use it to prevent a monopoly of the television industry. (3)

Update: Lewis Padgett was one of the pen names used by Henry Kuttner. Some of the stories published under this name were co-written by C. L. Moore, but I do not believe this was one. The “Gallagher” series, of which this is a prime example, were very popular. “The Proud Robot,” the third in the series, first appeared in Astounding Science-Fiction, October 1943, and was first reprinted in this anthology. First collected in Robots Have No Tails (Gnome Press, hardcover, 1952), then in Return to Otherness (Ballantine F619, paperback, 1962). Over the years it has appeared  in many other anthologies and collections of Kuttner’s works.

A. E. Van VOGT “Black Destroyer.” Novelette. An exploring spaceship discovers a planet now ruled by the killer coeurls, descendants of a once-powerful civilization. Most notable for the description of one of these alien creatures, the story loses some of its effectiveness with a confusing ending. (4)

Update: First appeared in Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1939. From Wikipedia: “‘Black Destroyer’ was combined with several other short stories to form the novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle (Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1950). It was claimed as an inspiration for the movie Alien and van Vogt collected an out-of-court settlement of $50,000 from 20th Century Fox.” A source quoted by Wikipedia suggests that this particular story “represents the start of the Golden Age of Science Fiction.”

– July-August 1967



RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

   Thirty-three stories first published in the years 1934-1945, mostly from Astounding, plus two articles not reviewed below. Although these were originally chosen as “classics” in 1946, as a whole they have not aged well. That [I have rated] only a third as above average demonstrated this quite adequately.

   The emphasis, as pointed out in the [book’s] introduction, is on science rather than fiction, and often it is only the obviously creative imagination of the author that saves an indifferently written story from disaster, Style is also important… Overall rating: 2½ stars.

NOTE: I read and reviewed all 33 stories. On this biog, I will post my comments in groups of three spread out over the next few months. This is Part One.

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN “Requiem.” A ‘Future History’ story. A softly sentimental story of a rocket pioneer’s first and only trip to the moon. Excellent is spite of an obvious plot. (5)

Update: Also part of Heinlein’s D. D. Harriman (“The Man Who Sold the Moon”) series. First published in Astounding SF, January 1940. First reprinted in this anthology. Collected in The Man Who Sold the Moon (Shasta, hardcover, 1950) and The Past Through Tomorrow (Putnam, hardcover, 1967).

DON A. STUART “Forgetfulness.” Novelette. Poetic story of the ultimate destiny of man – advanced, but unable to remember the steps of progress. The point is good, but the story does not seem to convey it well. (2)

Update: Don A. Stuart was the pen name of long time Astounding SF editor, John W. Campbell. First published in that magazine, June 1937. First collected in this anthology, then several times later, including Cities of Wonder, edited by Damon Knight (Doubleday, hardcover, 1966).

LESTER del REY “Nerves.” Novella. An atomic-power plant goes out of control, endangering the lives of all in the surrounding countryside. No doubt very exciting when it first appeared, the story no longer provides much punch. The characters are almost stereotypes today, especially the doctor-father image and his young assistant, who desires to become an atomic physicist. (2½)

Update: First published in Astounding SF, September 1942. First reprinted in this anthology. First collected in …And Some Were Human (Prime Press, hardcover, 1948). Expanded upon and published as a separate novel by Ballantine (paperback, 1956), with a slightly revised version appearing in its sixth printing, 1976.

– July-August 1967


ORBIT SCIENCE FICTION. September-October 1954. Vol. 1, No. 4. Overall rating: 2 stars.

ALFRED COPPEL “Last Night of Summer.” The study of reactions to knowledge of Earth’s sudden destruction in a burst of flames. (4)

Comment: According to my view at the time, this was a best story in this issue. Reprinted in The End of the World, edited by Donald A. Wollheim (Ace, paperback, 1956) and Catastrophes!, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh (Fawcett Crest, pb, 1981).

MICHAEL SHAARA “Death in the House.” A creature from a flying saucer disguises itself as a dog. (1)

Comment: Reprinted in Uncollected Stars, edited by Piers Anthony, Martin H. Greenberg, Barry N. Malzberg & Charles G. Waugh (Avon, pb, 1986). I suspect that this was due more to Shaara’s name value on the cover more than the quality of the story. (I could be wrong about this.)

JAMES E. GUNN “Danger Past.” Sabotage of a time machine leads to murder. (2)

Comment: As of last year, at 95 years old, Gunn was still active as a published writer. This story, however, has never been collected or reprinted.

MAX DANCEY “Me Feel Good.” Child from asteroid has strange powers. (0)

Comment: “Dancey” was one of several pen names used by author Peter Grainger. Others include Robert Flint Young and Peter Cartur. Under these various names he has thirteen SF tales to his credit, appearing between 1947 and 1974.

IRVING E. COX “No More the Stars.” A conspiracy to escape Earth’s oppression is broken up but does not fail. Quite familiar. (2)

Comment: Cox was the author of several dozen short stories between 1951 and 1965. This one has never been reprinted or collected in the US.

AUGUST DERLETH “The Thinker and the Thought.” A thinking machine mirror its inventor’s thoughts. (0)

Comment: Collected in Harrigan’s File (Arkham House, hardcover, 1975). I don’t know much about Tex Harrigan, the leading protagonist in this collection, but one online source says that he was a newspaperman who continually runs “up against strange inventions and curiously weird-science occurrences.” I do not seem to have been much impressed by this one.

ALAN E. NOURSE “The Image of the Gods.” Colonists of Baron IV find help from the natives in their struggle against Earth’s dominion. (3)

Comment: Reprinted in The Counterfeit Man: More Science Fiction Stories (David McKay, hardcover, 1963) and still in print electronically today.

PHILIP K. DICK “Adjustment Team.” [Novelette] An error in timing allows Fletcher to see the underlying reality of his existence, maintained by outsiders. Weak ending. (3)

Comment: First collected in The Book of Philip K. Dick (Daw, paperback, 1973) as well as several later collections. I do not believe that anything Dick ever wrote has not been reprinted or collected.

MILTON LESSER “Intruder on the Rim.” [Novelette] A husband-wife team of reporters are sent to Pluto’s moon and uncover a plot by the military in charge to take over the solar system. (1)

Comment: Lesser eventually changed his name legally to Stephen Marlowe; under this name he is well known as the author of many mystery and suspense novels. I do not believe any of his SF tales are at all memorable. This one has never been collected or reprinted in the US.

– August 1967

IF SCIENCE FICTION. November 1966. Overall rating: 2½ stars.

KEITH LAUMER “Truce or Consequences.” Novelette. Retief stops a war; any resemblance to the current Arab-Israeli conflict could not have been intended but neither is it coincidental. (3)

Comment: Laumer’s stories about no-nonsense galactic diplomat Jame Retief were great favorites of SF fans for many years. The first one, “Diplomat-at-Arms,” appeared in 1960. This one was first collected in Retief: Ambassador to Space (Doubleday, hc, 1969; Berley, pb, 1970) then in Retief: Diplomat at Arms (Pocket, pb, 1982; Baen, pb, 1987).

LARRY NIVEN “At the Core.” Novelette. Beowulf Shaeffer takes on another job for the puppeteers, this time taking a spaceship to the core of the galaxy. (3)

Comment: Many of Niven’s novels and stories fell into his future history known as “Tales of Known Space,” and this is an early one. Collected in Neutron Star (Ballantine, pb, 1968). Reprinted in The Second If Reader of Science Fiction (Doubleday, hc, 1968; Ace, pb, 1970).

C. C. MacAPP “The Sign of Gree.” Novelette. Another episode in the unending war against Gree. Steve Duke enlists the aid of the Remm. (1)

Comment: There were nine stories in MacApp’s “Gree” series; this was number eight. Probably pure space opera. My brief comment suggests I wasn’t very impressed. The story itself has never been collected or reprinted.

LESTER del REY “A Code for Sam.” Novelette. Del Rey suggests that Asimov’s Laws of Robotics may not be practical in the field. The point is well made. (3)

Comment: Collected in Robots and Magic (NESFA Press, hardcover, 2010). I’ve always found del Rey’s fiction to be unexpectedly uneven, but I wish I’d known about this collection before now.

JOHN T. SLADEK “The Babe in the Oven.” A wacky short story with no plot but plenty of wit. (4)

Comment: Collected in The Best of John Sladek (Pocket, pb, 1981). Reprinted earlier in Alpha 6, edited by Robert Silverberg (Berkley, pb, 1976).

ROBERT SILVERBERG “Halfway House.” In return for his life, an executive takes on the job of guarding the crossroads of all parallel world and deciding who may cross. (4)

Comment: First collected in Dimension Thirteen (Ballantine, paperback, 1969), then in several other books. I think most of Silverberg’s stories have been collected several times over!

J. T. McINTOSH “Snow White and the Giants.” Serial, part 2 of 4. The novel will be reported on in its entirety when all four installments have been read.

MIKE HILL “Hairry.” An unsquare story of a Martian spider who becomes a jazz buff. (2)

Comment: Mike Hill was the pen name of Paul G. Herkart, but under either name, this was his only published SF story.

THURLOW WEED “The Boat in the Bottle.” As the title suggests. (0)

Comment: Another author with a one and done.

– June 1967

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